Everyone’s favorite web-slinger is finally joining Marvel’s cinematic universe in July’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, thanks to a partnership between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios. With mere weeks to go until the film hits theaters, the studios held a press event on Sunday, June 25, featuring the cast and creative team of the highly anticipated movie.
Digital Trends was in attendance at the Spider-Man: Homecoming event, where director Jon Watts, the film’s producers, and the featured cast addressed a wide range of questions about the film.
First and foremost among the topics discussed at the event — which was streamed live on Facebook via the official Spider-Man: Homecoming page — was the complicated chain of events that brought Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
“It was one of a handful of ‘Well, this will never be possible, but let’s dream about it’ moments at Marvel Studios,” said Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige of the suggestion that Spider-Man would ever join the MCU in the years leading up to the rare partnership between the studios. “And now we’re sitting in front of all you nice people … having made the movie, [and] it’s unbelievable. It’s incredible.”
“It is incredible,” said former Sony Pictures co-chairperson and Homecoming producer Amy Pascal. “It started with a lunch between me and Kevin, and I can’t believe we’re here now.”
“I felt like we were being as true as anyone has ever been able to be about Spider-Man and how he fits into this world.”
Officially announced back in February 2015, the agreement between the two studios had Sony Pictures financing, distributing, and retaining final creative control over a solo Spider-Man movie following the character’s introduction to Marvel’s universe in Captain America: Civil War. Marvel agreed to produce the film and serve as the primary creative force behind it while integrating the character into its own, highly successful big-screen universe.
“They really should do one of those breakdown, boring-to-read but somewhat-important-to-read books about all the miracles that had to happen for us to be sitting here today,” said Avengers actor Robert Downey Jr., who plays a prominent role in Homecoming as his MCU character, Tony Stark. “This turned out so well.”
The end result of this surprising partnership made it exponentially easier to craft a story that’s already earning high praise as one of the character’s best big-screen adventures, according to Watts.
“I just tried to approach it as the biggest fan possible,” he explained. “If anything, I felt like we were being as true as anyone has ever been able to be about Spider-Man and how he fits into this world.”
And it was the character’s brief but significant role in Civil War that laid the groundwork for the story in Homecoming, said Watts.
In that 2016 film, Tony Stark recruits an unknown teenager with powerful abilities named Peter Parker (as played by new Spider-Man lead Tom Holland) to assist him in a skirmish with Captain America (Chris Evans). The assistance Peter provides makes for a memorable sequence in Civil War, and also informs the events in Homecoming — but from a slightly different perspective.
“I got kicked off really nicely by what the [directors of Civil War] did,” said Watts of the launching point for this new Spider-Man. “They set up this really great premise that Peter Parker is going to get plucked out of obscurity by Tony Stark, given this high-tech suit, and taken on a crazy adventure, and then just dropped back into his regular life without another thought.”
“The challenge for me was an opportunity,” he continued. “If Tony Stark built a Spider-Man suit, what could it do? There’s a precedent in the comics with the ‘Iron Spider’ suit [from a popular Marvel Comics story arc in which Tony designs a new suit for Spider-Man], so we used that as the inspiration for all the bells and whistles that would go into this thing.”
According to Holland, whose background in dancing and gymnastics adds a layer of physical credibility to the role well beyond previous iterations of the character, the question at the heart of the movie was simple: What would a 15-year-old do with superpowers?
“He would have the time of his life, and when I made this movie, I had the time of my life,” said Holland.
As for what the future holds for Spider-Man in the MCU, everyone with the potential to be involved in future films — particularly the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War — was as vague as fans have come to expect about their upcoming plans.
“I try to think about this stuff one movie at a time, but now that now that Spider-Man is part of this big crazy universe, we can definitely tell some new stories,” said Watts.
When pushed to offer up a hint about what’s to come, Holland laughed and remarked, “Not with Kevin Feige here!”
Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives in theaters July 7.
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